Using a mixer for the Bose L1

Hi Kenny,
I am an acoustic solo artist and I just wanted to ask for some advice regarding my Bose L1 Classic (recently purchased -second hand) with 2 bass sub units. How do I tell if it’s definitly the classic system – 750 watts? Looking at the link am I right to assume it is? See the link and my one is the one L1® Classic shipped between 2006 and 2007. I have gigged already twice with it – quite impressed with the dispersion of sound! Also would you advise getting the Tone Match – looks very useful. If so do you know the best place to buy? Sorry for all the questions, yet I ‘d like to thank you for your advice currently on the website – it was really helpful when looking at purchasing this system – I just hope it is the 750 watt NOT the L1 Model 1. I look forward to hearing from you,
Kind Regards,

Hi Joe

Hopefully it’s the 750 watt model you’ve purchased because that extra 250 watts does make a big difference to the loudness (despite what Bose may claim).

Have a look at which shows how to tell the difference between the various Bose L1 models.

Regarding the tone match controller, the tone match module is basically a mixer with a few other bits and bobs which connects to your L1.

I haven’t used a tone match remote unit with a 750w Classic (I don’t even know if the tone match module works on a 750w Classic) so I can’t comment on that.

But I do know that the older 750 watt Bose L1 has many of the tone match presets already on it with the main difference being that you have to select your presets from the controls on the Classics power stand unit rather than from the more convenient little tone match controller unit (I think the tone match has reverb on it too which you don’t get on the Classics power stand mounted controls).

The tone match is basically a little mini mixer for the L1, albeit it was created specially for the L1 so it is superb quality.

If you don’t need a mixer (i.e. the inputs and presets on the L1 power stand are enough for your needs) then don’t waste your money on a mixer or a tone match.

But if you do need reverb and a bit more control over your L1, then by all means buy the tone match.

And if you need a LOT more control over your L1 than the tone match can give you (e.g. multiple inputs and more extensive EQ control) then I suggest you buy a very high quality digital mixer.

But whatever you do, DON’T use a cheap mixer with the L1!

The quality of the Bose L1 is so good and so sensitive that it will show up any artifacts in your sound, so the cheap sound that a cheap mixer puts out may not be so noticable when you use it with a conventional PA system, but it WILL be noticable with the Bose L1.

The great thing about the Bose L1 is that it is superb quality and you can hear everything crystal clear.

The bad news about the Bose L1 is that it is….erm…superb quality and you can hear everything crystal clear!

That means every hissy backing track, every click, every pop, every note you play or every vocal sound you put through an L1 via a cheap mixer or cheap microphone will be audible and frustratingly apparent.

If you use high quality equipment with the L1 you won’t have any problems though.

And after using the L1 for a while, I’m sure you’ll never want to go back to a conventional PA system.

The only musicians and entertainers I’ve met so far who did not like the L1 are those entertainers who bought an L1 and then tried to get it to sound like their old PA system(!)

That’s not what the L1 is all about.

The L1 is not about the audience being thumped in the chest with the sound of big thundering bass.

The L1 is more like a very high qulaity home hi-fi system that you’d have in your living room…but on a much larger scale.


Hi Kenny,
Just wanted to say a big thank you for your detailed response – very useful! I do think it’s the 750 watt model.I think you can distinguish the 2 by the orange writing on the newer L1 model 1 and the classic doesn’t have this. I completly agree with your comments – the Bose sound is so clear. I played last night in a venue that was narrow and long + hard surfaces everywhere (you know the score – tough acoustics) and the Bose l1 with 2 subs dealt with it suberbly well. People about 15M away at the back of the room could still hear and were singing along – what an achievement! Equally, people close weren’t blown away by the sound. I think convential PA would have the sound lost at about Half-way… unless it was turned right up!! Interestingly, I decided to buy the Tone Match…(In place of my previous mixer). My word what a mixer to go with the L1 classic! Portable, easy to use, quality of sound absolute and great to have a tuner on board – FINALLY!! (NB: you do need a Bose power supply with the mixer but this in no real problem). Your right about not going back to convential PA, I ve got 2 convential PA speakers at the moment and I am selling one system, and seriously considering selling the other one too. The T1 is amazing in my book – carry on recommending it for solos/duos/trios – it’s the real deal and you can even download different guitar presets – what flexability!! I know it’s expensive – yet if you want a top quality sound…then there has to be some expense, which is worth it!! I think I am converted to this new – improved sound! (People can actually hear me when I talk down the mic between songs). I just can’t wait for my next gig!!! Anyway, thanks again – I ‘ll keep my eyes on your website for any other news and advice.
Keep up the good work!!

Make a poster for your act

Hi Kenny,
Thanks very much great information…wouldn’t expect anything less from you to be honest! As a matter of interest i am looking to also make up a few A3 posters from a band picture i have on my laptop, do you know of any downloads i can use to make my own? want to use my picture and add text etc to it.

Hi Craig

The industry standard program for creating these types of things is probably Adobe Photoshop:

However Photoshop is very expensive so I wouldn’t think it would be worth the money making such a large investment just to produce a poster or two (it’s mainly graphic designers who use tools like photoshop).

Photoshop do a scaled down version which is a better price:

However another program you could take a look at is Gimp ( which has many of the features of Photoshop but is free…

Song key problems

Some customers get a little mixed up when it comes to song keys…

Hi, Kenny,
I downloaded
Broken strings backing track from you as I want to play it with my chromatic harmonica. The backing track says Db original key. The music I have is in B minor (two sharps) original key and it don’t sound right so I’m confused. Db major has five flats so that don’t sound right for James Morrison. I only play one song in Db major and that’s Duke Ellington’s In A Sentimental Mood which has a reedy sound to it. Please advise where I can get the sheet music vocal score from which matches the backing track I have. Thank you.

Hi Graham

No, there is no mistake. 

We created the backing track of Broken strings in the key of Db which matches the key of the original recording by James Morrison and Nelly Furtado.

The first chord of the song is a Bbm but as you know, the first chord of a song doesn’t dictate the key of a song of course – Bbm is a minor chord belonging to the key of Db. 

The music you have is wrong so my advice would be to take it back to the shop you bought it from and let them know and ask them to supply you the music sheet for the song in the correct original key of Db (Bbm).

You can hear the original recording of the song in the key of Db (the same key as our backing track) on youtube at:

Buying the copyright to a song

One of the least understood issues is music copyright. While music legalities are a bit of a minefield and do change from country to country, the basic concept of how music copyright works isn’t particularly complicated. Here’s a question from a customer who heard a song on Youtube and asked us to create a custom backing track of it for him and wants to buy the full copyrights to the song…

Hi Kenny,
I want to ask if it would be possible if I could buy the rights to the song if I find the girls sing it well. I am not a muscician and the rules regarding rights are a nightmare to me.Anyway please tell me if and when it can be done so I can ask the kids to start to practice.

Hi Kola

The price of producing this backing track will be £100 GBPounds  (currency convertor at: 

Regarding purchasing copyrights to a song, there are two copyrights attached to each piece of music so you will need to purchase both copyrights if you want exclusive rights to a song.

One copyright is held by the performer.

The other copyright is held by the author of the song.

1. The performer
If you wanted the copyrights to the actual recording you heard on Youtube, then the singer who sings that song is the performer. You would need to contact him and ask him if he’ll sell you his performing rights to the song. 

If we create a backing track for you of this song, then we become the performer (i.e. we have played and recorded all the instrument parts that make up your backing track) so you would need to contact us and ask if we’ll sell you our performing rights to the song. 

As it happens, we can offer exclusive peformer copyrights so that you can use our backing track. There is a one-off fee of £500 GBP for this copyright. So on top of the backing track production cost of £100 GBPounds, the total would be £600 GBPounds. If you did this, then we cannot sell that backing track we created for you ever again to anyone else – you hold the performers copyright to that backing track. 

Just bear in mind that this doesn’t stop someone else from going to another backing track company and asking them to create a backing track of that same song though. It just means you’ve bought the rights to our backing track (i.e. our performance of it) so no-one else can use the backing track we made for you except you.

2. The Author
The other copyright is to the author of the song (the songwriter). If you can find out who wrote the song, contact them. They may be willing to sell you the rights to the song. Don’t get your expectations up too high though. Most authors will refuse to sell their song rights to you as they just never know when or where their song may be used in the future. It could get picked up years later for, say, some blockbuster film or TV advert, or by a big recording star and the song rights would become very valuable indeed. Gerry Rafferty was a Scottish singer/songwriter and although his song Baker Street was written more than 30 years ago, it still earns £80,000 a year in royalties. 

So, expect to pay many thousands for a copyright to a song (in fact the author may ask for millions if the song is popular and earns good royalties). 

Another example is the song “Happy Birthday To You”. It was first published in 1935 and earns around $1 million dollars a year in royalties (that’s not surprising – just think how many times a day, every day, all over the world, a movie, a TV station, a radio station, a theatre etc plays or sings the song Happy Birthday To You and you quickly realise why it earns so much in royalties). 

Time Warner purchased the rights to “Happy Birthday To You” a few years back for $12 million. That may seem like a lot of money, but at $1m a year royalties coming in from it they’ve made their money back on the song in 12 years. Considering the copyright on that song doesn’t run out until the year 2030 it was a pretty shrewd investment for them…